A protester was arrested on the 4th of July after a standoff with the police. She had scaled up the base of the Statue of Liberty in protest of migrant children being separated from their guardians and/or parents.
The woman was identified by CNN as Therese Patricia Okoumou. She stayed on the Statue of Liberty for almost three hours. She paced across the base of the statue and at times sat in the folds of Lady Liberty’s dress or under her sandals. Authorities continually tried to encourage her to come down.
Okoumou allegedly said that she wouldn’t come down until “all the children are released,” a source with the NYPD told CNN.
The encounter ended after about 16 hours because of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit. They are trained to execute some of the most dangerous rescues in the city and worked to bring Okoumou down and take her into custody.
“At first, she wasn’t friendly with us, but we took the time to get a rapport with her so that took a while,” Officer Brian Glacken said in a news conference on Wednesday evening. “She just kind of mentioned the kids in Texas. I guess the whole debate that’s going on about that. In the beginning, she threatened to push us off, push the ladder off, but we stayed with her.”
Officers used ropes and climbing gear and were finally able to reach her.
“At first she was being a little combative, then she was willing to cooperate with us. She actually apologized to us for having to go up and get her,” Glacken told reporters.
Okoumou was put in a harness and ropes and assisted down as she crossed to the other side of the statue where officers were waiting with a ladder.
According to CNN, Okoumou is connected to Rise and Resist, however, organizer Martin Joseph Quinn told CNN that the climb was not part of a planned protest.
“She climbed without our knowledge. It was not part of our action,” Quinn said.
However, the group said that they will support Okomouo and are “working to secure the best legal representation” for her.
Park police have recommended charges to the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, with possible charges including trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with government functions.